Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bring Me A Higher Love

What? KL TM Forest Towerthon

Where? Where else but KL Tower (Duh!)

When? February 19, 2006 (Sunday)

How many steps up? 2058

How tall is the tower? 421 meters (4th Tallest Telecom Tower Worldwide)

The longest shaft in KL.

Welcome to the Tower

That was my second time climbing up KL Tower. My first time climbing up this tall erection was in year 2000. (Insert black and white flashback here). It was not a nice experience then as I was the few guilty ones who decorated the stair with a new coat of "paint" (re: my breakfast). Mistake no.1 - No stairs training. Mistake no.2 - run with a full stomach. All my partially digested breakfast of a bun and orange juice went back out. Mistake no.3. Sprinting uphill. At that time, I turbo-ed up the hill leading up to the tower. We had to tackle a 800m winding road from the foothill up before entering the tower.

By the time I reached the TH02 level (two floor up), I was almost half dead. My head spun like a carouse and I vomitted. I couldn't breathe as the stair well was very stuffy and icky (from other people vomit). My legs went wobbly like agar-agar.I rested for like 1/2 hour at the refreshment area, practically lying down. With a little strength that I had, I managed to scrape myself up from the floor and continued to tackle those nasty stairs again. I made it to the top close to 1 hours. One of my colleagues DNFed.

An Uphill Task

Learning from that puke fest, I was better prepared for this Towerthon. I ate a light breakfast - a bar of Nesvita cereal bar and some mineral water well ahead of the start. My aerobic had improved since from the kickboxing class. And this time, I didn't pretent that I was a African runner and turboed up the slope. I took my own sweet time to slow jog up. Many runner sprinted pass me. I didn't bother because I didn't want to go through the ordeal I had six years ago.

Automatic, supersonic, hypnotic, funky fresh Work my body, so melodic This beat flows right through my chest Everybody, Ma and Papi came to party Grab somebody, work your body, work your body Let me see you 1, 2 step

Rock it, don't stop it Everybody get on the floor Wake the party up We about to get it on Let me see ya 1, 2 step I love it when ya 1, 2 step Everybody 1, 2 step We about to get it on - Ciara (1,2 Step from CD Goodies)

Crash! Boom! Bang!

Step by step I moved up the stairs steadily. Took picture of every level indicator. Suggestion for the organiser - to put encouraging words to motivate participants.

I only made on refreshment stop at TH02. Drank half bottle of the supplied mineral water and cool down by the fan before I started my journey up again. I felt great. No pressure. No queasy feeling. No suffocation. I passed many "sprinters" who crashed and burned at the stairway. (Insert evil smirk here).

Step by step Bit by bit Stone by stone Brick by brick Step by step Day by day Mile by mile Go your own way And this old road is rough and ruin So many dangers along the way So many burdens might fall upon me So many troubles I have to face But I won't let my spirit fail me But I won't let my spirit go Until I get to my destination - Whitney Houston (Step by Step from The OST of The Preacher's Wife)

1 more to go...

I was elated when I reached the top. My knee wobbled but I felt great. Top of the world! Noisy runners had turned the Megaview Observation deck into a wet market. I went around the deck and took pictures of the scenic KL views. Everything seemed so small from up there. Tiny humans like ants. Tiny cars like matchboxes. All the problems floated away into the clouds. problem fade away? Hahah! I must be hallucinating due to lack oxygen! Anyway, I love the views from top.

Views from the Top (Part 1)

Menara Maybank and surrounding Pudu area

Views from the Top (Part 2)

KLCC Twin Towers (my favourite shot)

Ants? No, those were participants running up from the foothill to KL Tower

Lil' Melody with a very big heart

I lingered at the sponsors booths at the water fountain area after collecting my goodies bag. There were several mascots wondering around. I managed to shoot this big heart (from Fitness First). Heheh!

Care for some Tower Water?

Amy took a few bottles of this unique mineral water bottle that shaped like the KL Tower at the Start Point. Makes good souvenir.

Goodies Bag and then some

My loot 1) A bag of rice (Jati Super Special Tempatan) 2) Sloan analgesic x 3 tubes 3) KL Tower memo pad and pencils 4) Allianz Pen 5) Proactive Energy Booster Tablets 6) McDonald free meal vouchers 7) Sunway Lagoon RM8 off voucher 8) Menara Alor Setar RM1 off voucher 9) National Sport Council face towel 10) Johnson’s Baby SoftWash x 2 sachets 11) Liquid Neutrogena 12) Blue Hyppo cardboard cut-out 13) Celcom X-pax tattoo 14) Sunday Mail newspaper 15) Lots of useless brochures and car window stickers

The Shiny Plastic Thingy

The KL Towerthon 2006 medal is one of its kinds. It is shiny. It is BIG (Insert Gasp here!). It floats should you throw it into the Klang river. (Insert double gasps here!). Yes. The medal is more plastic than a Barbie doll could be. It is like those cheap tacky plastic medals that you received from your primary or secondary school sport meets.

Anyway, a plastic medal is better than no medal at all. What important is that I have enjoyed myself. Would I do it again? Yes! Yes! Yes! It is not everyday that you get to walk up the 4th tallest telecommunication tower in the world. (Insert a smile of satisfaction here).

Monday, February 13, 2006

Puteri Gunung Ledang – The Musical

Spoiler Alert! What? Puteri Gunung Ledang – The Musical

Where? Istana Budaya When? 12 February 2006/ 3:00pm

At the Istana Budaya Grand Foyer

At the Circle 3 Entrance

In The Hall

Everybody, go watch this musical! Nevermind the Hang Tuah is genetically Scottish. Nevermind Nenek Kebayan looks like Sadako (The female ghost from The Ring) with a bad perm. Nevermind Sultan Mahmud moves like a John Travolta and Michael Jackson hybrid. Just watch it. PGL-The Musical is a groundbreaking musical for a Malaysian production.

Mystical script. Memorable songs. Elaborate costumes. Dazzling choreography. Stunning cast. Impressive set. Hey, the set designer really worked with the concept of “If you can’t get the audience to Mt. Ledang, bring Mt. Ledang to audience, and mind you, the mountain is complete with a waterfall!! I actually didn’t plan to go for the show. I was bored to death at home. I planned to run but my feet ached from yesterday’s circuit training. After reading the raving good review of the musical in The Sunday Star, I decided to try my luck on the ticket. It was my lucky day indeed as I managed to get one of the last two tickets available. Not a very good seat but cheap. They said beggar couldn’t be chooser, so I took the ticket and paid RM31.50 for it.

Puteri Making an Entrance

Stolen Shots For almost three hours solid, I was spellbound with the profound sights and sound. (Erm..why am I talking in rhyme? Must be the effect of the musical). Thank God, that I brought my little binoculars. So, even though I was far away from the stage, I still could see the expressions on the actors’ faces. Tiara is very pretty from afar. Heheh! I secretly took some pictures too, even though they turned out not that good.

Two lovers hugging near the waterfall. Tangkap Khalwat! Heheh!

Y.M.C.A....: )

Hurray! Thank God for those 24-hour protection deodorant.

Tiara mobbed. After the show was over, I saw Tiara walking out to the lobby to meet her husband. Quickly, I walked towards her and politely asked for an autograph. I was prepared for a time like this. After a few musical shows I learned that the cast would normally come out to meet the fans after the show. So, took out my felt-tipped pen and passed it to Tiara.

Tiara...Up Close and Personal Tiara was still in her make-up but no longer in costumes. She looked as pretty on stage as in person. I do not have to use my binoculars any more. Graciously, Tiara signed my CD (Remixes from The Musical), and posed for photograph. I was swooning over the moon. More and more people crowed around her. Adlin – the dude who played Sultan Mahmud, joined her later. I waited for Stephen Rahman-Hughes to make his appearance but his nostrils were nowhere to be seen. So, I have to make do with just one autograph on the CD.

From Tiara With Love Note: The CD that I bought from the souvenir counter is actually a “home-burned” CD-rom, containing 5 remixed tracks (including Keranamu Kekasih and Di Puncak Tertinggi) from the musical. It doesn’t have track listing on the sleeve. I think the sleeve is also printed using a computer – hurriedly put together to cash in the show. However, Tiara’s signature makes the RM15 worth spending. I hope they will release the theatrical recording soon.

Nike Vapor Flight Earphones Review

What? To “test drive” my new Nike Earphones

Where? KL International Marathon Circuit Run3, Lake Garden, Kuala Lumpur

When? 11 February 2006

One of the good advises I received is never attempt to do new things prior or during the marathon. Never eat new type of food before or during the run. Never wear new shoes or clothes unless you want to invite Mr. Blister or Miss Chafing over. Never go for deep tissue massage a day before the marathon. Everything has to be tried and tested so that it will not cause problem on the big day. So, last Circuit run, I decided to "test drive" my newly bought Nike Vapor Flight Earphones. I don't have much problem with the earphones that were provided with my Sony Network Walkman.

However, occasionally, I have to readjust or to push back the earphone into my ear especially during a long run and when I get all sweaty. I used to have the same problem with my iPod earphones before it went missing.

Innovation for Athletes

When I saw this Nike Vapor Flight earphones on the shelf at Best Denki Lot 10, I immediately fell in love with it. It is 3-way adjustable (= comfort), sweat resistant (=no worry about short-circuit) and looks cool too.

1 way 2 way 3 way

The sound? Fantastic! Maddie’s "Hung Up" pulsating beats sounds groovalicious while Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You Been Gone” guitars sounded crisp and crunchy. No doubt, Mariah's "We Belong Together" sounded ever fabulous. (Heheh! I’m a bit biased when it comes to Mariah, she would sound fabulous no matter what I play her songs with). I love Jay Chow’s “Huo Yuan Chia” (from Jet Lee’s Fearless Soundtrack) sounded, especially the drum at the intro. Felt like I was running effortlessly or flying on top of roof like the kung fu master..heheh…Fearless. Excellent hybrid between Chinese traditional flute and electric guitar.

The Nike earphones are lightweight. They fit snugly like they were super-glued to my ears. No matter how I tried to shake them off, they stayed in place even after three hours of running. I think I have found my perfect running pair of earphones. I will sure to take them with me for KL International Marathon this March. Running with Music. Running with Passion.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Home Run

Welcome to Pekan, my hometown.

My running has never been confined to road races. When I travel, I usually take along my running shoes and my camera. This Chinese New Year is no different. I find running is one of the best ways to discover and explore, except for Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The traffic there made running almost impossible. I had the fear of getting run over by millions of motorbikes in the city.

Sungai Pahang. The longest river in Peninsula Malaysia.

During this Chinese New Year, apart from gorging the yummy but fattening food that my mom prepared (Insert wild applause for Mom here!) and staying glued to TV, I did some exploring while running during the eve, 2nd day and 3rd day of CNY. Didn't get to run on the 4th day as it rained heavily in the morning and I had to make my way back to KL in the afternoon.

I had my usual rounds at Padang Polo (Polo Field), the royal playground for the Pahang Sultan. It is not too far from my parents' house. Love the greeneries. Love the horses.

Running in Pekan road is relatively safe. However, runners should be always alert and watch where they step. Beware of organic landmines courtesy of cows and water buffaloes. See picture below. Yes. It’s that BIG apiece. No bullshit. (Pun intended heheh!)

This year, I also bravely plodded my way to some new places – Pulau Keladi, the birth place of Tun Abdul Razak (our Malaysia's Second Prime Minister) and a newly constructed, Taman Tasik (Lake Garden of) Sultan Abu Bakar.

Pulau Keladi

Pulau Keladi is the birth place of Tun Abdul Razak -Malaysia's Second Prime Minister (1970-1976). It is located about 4km from Pekan town where my parents' house is.

This house is the same house where Tun Razak was born on 1 March 1922. The house was restored by Pahang Museum for its historic importance. Now it is open to public. It is rather empty inside - a bed, a cabinet, a sewing machine and some kitchen appliances.

There is a gallery next to this house. I didn't bother to enter, as I was sweaty and hot. The caretaker asked where was my car. I told him that I jogged all the way from Pekan. He shook his head in disbelief. On my way back, I jogged pass some silk weaving centres which I might check out in my next visit.

Taman Tasik Sultan Abu Bakar

I never knew this lake existed until I saw the big signboard on my way back to Pekan. It is located along the Pekan-Kuantan trunk road, near the Peramu Industrial Area. I asked my sister to drop me at this place and then ran 8 km back home. The run was OK. Flat. I was cheered by a bus-load of school children as the bus passed me by.

This place boasts a cultural site (batik, handicrafts and silk-weaving), Menara Pandang (Observatory Tower), bird fountain (some say Garuda, some say Jentayu, but it look like a huge chicken to me), tourist information center, cafe & restaurants, RC (remote control??) race circuit, sport complex, cyber café and Inderapura Country Resort.

It is quite a promising place to attract tourists to the quite town of Pekan. Then again, like any other tourist spots in Malaysia, sad to say the upkeep/maintenance of this place is appalling. Pornographic graffiti "decorated" the walls of the observatory towers. Uncleared rubbish. Broken windows. Chipped paintings. Vandalised properties. I don't even want to go to the toilets. Anyway, the place still looks stunning from afar for those Kodak moments.

Saw one idiot drove a Kancil through the running track. F88king vandals! Not only they destroyed the track, they also endangered the runners (not many runners but there were a few like yours truly...). Hate those people who have lack of respect for public properties.

Anyway, here are some Kodak moments at Taman Tasik Sultan Abu Bakar. Thanks to my little sister who became my accidental photographer.

Possibly The Biggest Cock in Malaysia. Hahah!

Ivory Tower. Insert. Me doing the Evita pose. Hahah!

View from the top. Pekan is a very flat town. So, running here is a breeze.

Wet boys. They kept on running even in the rain. Never seen such dedication since the Circuit 2 run. Well done!

This is me, making a dash back to the car to avoid the torrential rain. Seen in the way way back in the background is the rainbow coloured observatory tower.

(Insert "I’ll be back" with Arnold Swarzenegger accent here)